- Better carrying capacity
- Better fuel efficiency
- Can now tow 2.5 tonnes
- Safety options are costly
- Steering feels remote
The Peugeot Expert and goes back to winning ways
There’s no doubt the Peugeot Expert is a great all-round creation. There’s lots of technology on board as well as efficient engines to make this an attractive purchase. The new model is distinct from the van it replaces (which was launched 10 years ago and was feeling dated among its better rivals) but it will probably struggle to make an impact in a keenly fought segment – which is a shame because it is attractive and nice to drive and it stands out with the unusual offering of compact, standard and long body lengths.
Reasons to buy
Despite the fact the Peugeot Expert has two siblings, the Toyota Proace and Citroen Dispatch, the Expert has the edge. All three vans use the same platform for the Citroen C4 Picasso and Peugeot 308 so there’s a comfortable car-like driving experience, probably more so than for most other vans in the segment.
Among the improvements is a better suspension for carrying heavier loads, improved power steering which can feel remote around town and the rear suspension no longer intrudes into the load bay.
The Peugeot Expert offers drivers practicality and a well-built van in a crowded market and for those who need a tight turning circle, then the Expert is for you. The van’s handling is one of the best for this segment. There are also other nice touches, remote operated twin sliding doors for instance and the ability to create extra space for long loads by removing one of the seats in the seat bench. We also liked the full metal bulkhead but the optional insulated version with a glazed window helps with noise insulation.
The Peugeot Expert range consists of the three trims and three lengths – so there’s something in the line-up for everyone.
If you like the Peugeot Expert then take a look at the Vauxhall Vivaro, Ford Transit Custom and the VW Transporter.
The first thing to praise is the class leading economy; the 1.6 litre and 2.0 litre engines are excellent. Part of this is down to the lighter build of the new van, it’s not only 150 kg lighter than the model it replaces but it’s around 300 kg lighter than some of its competitors.
Under the bonnet, the most efficient unit to choose is the 1.6 litre diesel unit producing 114 bhp and which returns 55 mpg and emissions of 133g/km to offer the best blend of performance and economy. There is also an engine producing 94 bhp and coupled to the automatic transmission will return around 54 mpg with emissions of 135g/km. The average economy for the entire Expert range is around 52 mpg, which is quite impressive in itself, but there’s also an excellent 178 bhp engine for those who need more performance which returns a decent 46 mpg.
It helps too that the running costs are kept low with the excellent two-year service intervals or 25,000 miles.
Access is easy with the twin sliding side doors, even in the basic model, and the doors can be opened remotely. However, most potential owners will be impressed that the maximum payload is 1,400 kg with a load length of 3,670 mm possible. The long versions of the standard Expert will take a load length of 4,020 mm. There’s also plenty of load volume between the three models ranging from 5.1 cubic metres to 6.6 cubic metres.
Owners may also like the triple seat front bench with the outer seat being lifted and folded away easily so there is a large hatch in the bulkhead that will add 1,160 mm of extra load length. Also, the middle seat will fold up into a table for paperwork or laptop use. It should also be noted, however, that the bench doesn’t offer much room for occupants particularly when compared with the seat in the Renault Trafic, for instance.
Technology & Safety
While there is some safety equipment on board, most of the high-tech gear comes as part of (pricey) option packs which can add substantially to the van’s cost. For instance, should owners add satnav it will be more than £200.
The van is fitted with deadlocks and these can be opened with a proximity key fob and there’s a standard immobiliser fitted with the Professional models coming with an added alarm. Some versions also enable the driver to open the sliding side doors remotely either with gesture control beneath the bumper or from the cab.
Some drivers should also be wary that the standard rear-view mirror is not always effective and the standard door mirrors should really be wide angle glass but it helps that there are rear parking sensors in the Professional trims though some drivers may struggle in the basic Peugeot Expert when it comes to reversing into tight spaces.
While many van makers say their vans will deliver car-like handling, the Peugeot Expert actually does do this mainly down to the fact it uses a platform that is shared with the Peugeot 308.
Out on the road, the grip is good and the van proves itself to be a nimble performer and with two Euro pallets on board, it is still an agile van to drive. It’s also a good performer around town with the engines delivering power when needed.
There is plenty of equipment on board including cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and DAB radio. Opt for the Professional trims and owners will find air con, a 7-inch touchscreen while the Professional Plus trim comes with body coloured mirrors and bumpers, LED headlights, larger alloys, a rear parking camera and metallic paint.
With prices starting at £17,500 plus VAT, the Peugeot Expert is looking like a competitive package and while there is a lot to like about the stylish van, it’s not quite up to the same level as the market leaders.